Residents in a Gilbert neighborhood say a grassy basin near their homes has been a magnet for vandalism over the past two years, costing the homeowners association thousands of dollars to fix graffiti, trash and landscaping problems.
The square basin, located in Madera Parc Estates on Cooper Road between Warner and Elliot roads, is surrounded by homes on three of four sides.
On the south side, the basin is bordered by a dead end road - the place neighbors are worried about the most. The corner allows people to park and trespass in the field late at night, they say.
Kristin Gimbert, the neighborhood HOA secretary and a stay-at-home mom, sent an e-mail to the Gilbert Police Department in October in hope of getting extra patrols in the area.
"(The vandalism) has been a little bit of everything," she said. "Cars were getting down into the basin, tearing up the turf. The main water valve was destroyed ... graffiti on the walls, the sprinkler risers broken off."
Gimbert said the HOA has spent $3,000 in the last two years to fix all of the problems within a day after they occur.
In the past, HOA members have painted over graffiti on the walls surrounding the basin without hiring an outside company. Most of the time, she said, a professional landscaper or plumber needs to complete the work.
Gimbert believes teenagers are causing a majority of the damage because they know no one can see them while they are in the basin at night.
Neighbor Rachel Sims says groups of cars sometimes hop the basin curb and tear up the grass.
She said her two dogs often bark at all the noise created by slamming car doors and other activities in the lot.
"It does get kind of noisy," Sims said. "I've had my (car) window bashed in a few times."
Sims believes the teens that frequent the park also trespass on private property. In one instance, several lawn chairs and other items were left in front of Sims' home after someone rang her doorbell and ran away, she said.
Cindy, who lives near the lot but refused to give her last name, said she would give any amount of money to help solve the problem.
She believes much of the vandalism can be solved by hanging outdoor lights.
Cindy and her husbandhave lived in the area for 11 years and she said they have called police several times with noise and trespassing complaints.
Her husband, who also refused to be identified, said he called police Friday to report graffiti.
According to Gimbert, police told her that they would send officers to patrol the area more frequently but it would most likely not be enough to catch the vandals in the act.
Sgt. Mark Marino could not comment on the specific incidences at Madera Parc Estates, saying only that police did not believe the graffiti was gang related.
He said officers are briefed before their shifts about vandalism problems that arise in their area.
"Are we dealing with taggers? With gangs? We are going to try to investigate who that person is or that group is," he said. "If it's a random act, it makes it real difficult to set up a campaign."